R. V. C . J (Possession of a Firearm, Careless Storage of a Firearm & Posession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle)

Oct 13, 2018

Location: Hamilton Ontario Court of Justice 

BACKGROUND

Hamilton Police were dispatched to a noise complaint at a residential building in downtown Hamilton. Upon arrival the police had observed a man (our client) in a vehicle behind the building. There were no other individuals in the surrounding area. The police investigated the vehicle and discovered it was reported to be stolen. Further, our client appeared to be intoxicated and gave utterances during the investigation. These utterances pertained to the fact that the vehicle was not his and that he had been abandoned at the building by the people who had picked him up. The police performed an arrest for the stolen vehicle and then performed a search of the vehicle subsequent to his arrest. During the search of the vehicle, the police found a loaded firearm and our client was further charged with firearm related offences.    

THE ISSUE 

The primary issue was whether the Crown could prove “knowledge, possession, and control” of both the firearm and the vehicle. This case included an analysis of DNA evidence and whether it definitively connected our client to the firearm. Further, our client gave an additional statement to the police whereby he gave evidence which could have indicated knowledge of the firearm. As such, the issue of voluntarinessin relation to our client’s statement was also a paramount consideration.

THE STRATEGY

The facts of this case involved a significant amount of scientific research in relation to DNA evidence to support the defence position that the firearm could not be directly linked to our client. Further, research concerning the intoxication of our client and brain injuries he had previously sustained was critical when it came to the voluntariness of his statement. A Crown pre-trial was scheduled and conducted. 

Following the Crown pre-trial, a Judicial pre-trial was scheduled where the strategy was to present case law and research to support a withdrawal of criminal charges.

THE RESULT

Following the Judicial Pre-trial, the Assistant Crown Attorney agreed that the triable issues concerning voluntariness of the statement, as well as knowledge, possession and control were so great that the firearm charges should be withdrawn.